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What Happened At Google Cloud NEXT Was Just The Beginning

Google Cloud NEXT '18Image from: SiliconANGLE

It’s amazing how much information can be packed into a 3-day conference. We know it’s impossible to be in multiple places at once and even if you can pull that off, there’s only so much content you can truly capture and apply back to your initiatives.

We spent most of this year preparing and building excitement for Google Cloud NEXT, and we don’t want the dust to settle here, a month later. Cloudbakers sent a team of sixteen ‘bakers to see, experience and explore as much as we possibly could so we could be ready to support you through all of the announcements, innovations, and creations that came from Google that week.

Let's take a walk down memory lane through some of our favorites...

Day 1

AI In G Suite

The energy was high on day one, just as you’d expect, ideas buzzing about in the air and rumored chatter about the potential releases Google would announce. A leading discussion on day one was about Google taking their AI expertise and bringing it to G Suite. These updates will help to simplify work and collaboration across G Suite.

  • Security Center Investigation Tool
    • Google is launching an Early Adopters Program (EAP) for the new “investigation tool” in the G Suite security center. This tool is meant to help admins identify security issues within the domain, triage threats targeting users, devices, and data, and take bulk actions to limit the propagation and impact of threats.
  • Data Regions
    • Google knows that some organizations want their data stored locally, and some abroad, and Google is committed to making this possible. G Suite Business, Enterprise, and Enterprise for Education customers can now designate the region in which their primary data for select G Suite apps is stored. This can mean globally, in the US, or in Europe.
  • Smart Reply in Hangouts Chat
    • To help you respond to messages quicker, Google has added Smart Reply to Hangouts Chat. This technology recognizes which messages need responses, then analyzes and proposes 3 different responses casual enough for chat. So at the click of a button, you have your message. No typing necessary.
  • Smart Compose
    • For those who need to send a longer, more complex email, Google has added Smart Compose to intelligently autocomplete your emails, fill in your greetings and sign offs, and use common phrases to collaborate efficiently. It has now been launched in Gmail for all G Suite customers!
  • Grammar Suggestions in Google Docs
    • Another Early Adopter Program update, Grammer Suggestions, will use AI to help people write more clearly and effectively. By using a machine translation-based approach, this update will recognize errors and suggest corrections instantly!
  • Voice Commands in Hangouts Meet hardware
    • Later this year Google plans to roll out select Meet hardware that will include the same voice commands we know and love from Google Assistant through voice.

For the Developer

A huge highlight of day one’s keynote was Google’s AI chief scientists Fei-Fei Li. She went into detail about new products and enhancements aimed at helping developers do more with their data. Li announced that Cloud AutoML Vision, AutoML Natural Language, and AutoML Translation are now available in beta to help developers categorize their data.

An Addition to the Cloud Family 

This year Google unveiled the Cloud Services Platform (CSP), a family of cloud services. The platform’s goal is to improve speed, reliability, security, governance that will have the ability to run anywhere, across Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and on-premise environments. CSP puts all your IT resources into a consistent framework, automating away low-value and insecure tasks across on-premise and Google Cloud infrastructure.

This year at NEXT, Cloudbakers had the opportunity to demo our new Instant CSAT, a tool allowing companies to gauge customer satisfaction by analyzing streams of real-time interaction. Cloudbakers set up a glowing cloud shaped light that was programmed to change colors depending on the sentiment of the ticket sent through. With a lot of buzz around our booth, NEXT attendees lined up to get the chance to type out their own verbiage and see what color the cloud would turn next!

Day 2

Day two at Google NEXT was all about G Suite from AI enhancements to server-less environments, a TON of announcements were made. Let’s start from the beginning!

G Suite helping enterprises stay competitive

Day one was all about the products, while day two was focused on tackling solutions with G Suite. The announcements at the day two keynote kept us on the edge of our seats with new Gmail, and added features such as Cloud Search, Google Voice for G Suite, and Drive Enterprise. What does this all mean? It means that we will now be able to take the power of Google Search to G Suite to make finding information simple, that an enterprise version of Google Voice will allow us to connect with clients and partners across the globe seamlessly, and now Google Drive will be available as a standalone offering for people who aren't quite ready to go full blast into the cloud. Learn more about these G Suite updates here.

Staying Secure

Google’s top priority has always been to keep their users data secure, this is why they use machine learning to analyze threat and identify potential security attacks across all Gmail messages. Google’s machine learning technology has kept more than 1.4 billion Gmail accounts from spam and malicious emails every minute. For those of you that were part of Gmail’s early adopters program for the new version know how great it has been, and how their AI technology has helped you respond quickly and find emails you need in an instant. That’s why we were so excited for them to announce that the new Gmail is now generally available to all G Suite customers! Get ready for awesome features in their redesign, security warnings, offline access, and the snooze ability!

Bringing Google search to enterprise data

We all know how difficult it can be to find the data we are looking for in some of the systems we use. We are happy to inform you the endless scrolling is finally over. Google has announced that they are taking the Cloud Search functionality and bringing it over to third-party data beyond G Suite, so whether your data is on-prem or stored in a cloud, finding what you are looking for has never been easier.

Collaboration has never been easier

G Suite has mastered collaboration. It has never been easier to work together and now Google has made it even simpler. How is that possible? Let’s find out! Google is bringing an enterprise version of Voice to G Suite! Voice will allow admins to easily manage users, provisions and port phone numbers. You will also be able to access detailed reports and set-up call routing functionality. Voice will simply allow you to deploy phone numbers to employees, or full departments, all at once. Another AI-powered feature, you will be able to facilitate voicemail transcription and spam filtering through Google Voice!

Migration flexibility for those that aren’t ready to go all in

Customers will now be able to purchase Drive Enterprise as a standalone offering with usage-based pricing!  So if migrating completely over to Google does not fit your companies needs, but you still want to have that additional level of collaboration, this option is for you!  

Google has amped up their AI offerings

Other then G Suite announcements, day two had a lot to do with AI. With some of these updates, Google is helping users train their machine learning models faster and in multiple locations with more libraries. They have also extended a classification of IoT and gateway devices.

Turning data into insights

Google announced multiple enhancements to their data analytics offerings in Google Cloud Platform aimed at helping businesses reveal the important insights from their data!

  • BigQuery ML allows data analysts and data scientists to build machine learning models directly from BigQuery (now available in beta).
  • BigQuery GIS will help companies handle geographic data types (now available in alpha).
  • A Sheets data connector for BigQuery allows access to your BigQuery data warehouse straight from Google Sheets (now in beta).
  • Data Studio Explorer supports templates and a one-click visualization tool (now in beta).
  • Cloud Composer helps to orchestrate your multi-cloud deployment strategy (now generally available).
  • Customer Managed Encryption Keys for Dataproc gives you control over provisioning and revoking identity-aware authentication keys to your teams and users. (It’s generally available for BigQuery and in beta for Compute Engine and Cloud Storage.)

Adler Planetarium Goes GoogleOverall, day two was an especially exciting day for the ‘bakers as we stood on stage next to our friends from Adler Planetarium to share their incredible journey from Exchange to the Google Cloud. The project consisted of migrating millions of files and resulted in a 66% reduction in internal support requests from users. Click here to view the full session at Google NEXT ‘18.

Day 3

For all you DevOps people this one was for you! Day three was all about how Google is updating their Cloud Platform with more developer and operator friendly tools. “Made Here Together” was the tagline of the week, and these tools really do just that. They allow developers and operators to create and collaborate with one another proficiently and easily.   

We all know that GCP is a great place to run your apps, but now it’s an even better place to build them. With a new and improved Cloud Build CI/CD service, developers and operators have an easy, high-performing, and flexible service to build container and non-container based apps. Cloud Build, is Google’s fully managed continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. It allows us to build and test applications in the cloud at ease, making our projects for our clients easier, more cost effective, and less time consuming than ever before!

And that’s a wrap for now! Stayed turned on the ‘Crumbs from the Cloud’ blog for more ways to leverage Google Cloud and keep an eye out for NEXT ‘19 early next year!

Cloud Strategy Implementation - Change Management

Originally published on August 29, 2018

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